Teen Vaping – A National Crisis Hits Home

The public health crisis of vaping-related lung injuries among teens has arrived in Madison. In the past two months, UW Health has treated at least 10 cases of lung injury in which the patient admitted to vaping or using e-cigarettes with products containing nicotine, THC or CBD (cannabidiol).

Recently several UW Health specialists, lead by pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Vivek Balasubramaniam, held a news conference at American Family Children’s Hospital to raise awareness about how the national crisis is affecting local communities.

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I Beg You, Stop Vaping.

I know that there have been quite a few blogs about vaping recently (and you may be sick of reading about this in the news), but I’m writing this as a request from several parents and patients. Even as I write this, I’m sitting in a meeting getting briefed on the most recent cases of lung injuries related to vaping.  I am receiving multiple calls and patient questions daily about this. This is an ongoing thing, and each day it gets bigger and bigger.

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Vaping suspected of causing severe lung damage

Vaping is in the news… again… (i.e. you should quit vaping, and we’re here to help!)

There are endless options for what you might want to do with the end of your summer (End? How is it August already?!), but spending several weeks in the hospital with a severe lung disease probably isn’t high on your list. For some teenagers in Wisconsin, that was, unfortunately, the case in the last month. The cause? While it hasn’t been definitively determined, the Department of Health Services (DHS) says that the commonality amongst the teens was that they had all been vaping in the time leading up to their hospitalization. As of August 2, 2019, DHS is aware of 11 confirmed cases. Seven other cases are under further investigation. Their symptoms included fevers, chest pain that worsened with breathing, nausea, diarrhea, and diminished appetite, and some of them needed to be on breathing machines while they were sick. While all of them have recovered, we don’t know what the long-term effects could be from these incidents.

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JUULing

As my daughter’s high school graduation date approaches, I have been paying a little less attention to the messages that come from the school. I can’t help it… I’m more concerned about plans for college than the business of today. I know I should be more in the moment. Is there a parent version of ‘senioritis?’ I think I have it.

Some school messages do grab my attention though. My daughter and I got a kick out of the message expressing concern about ‘grinding’ on the dance floor and how said ‘grinding’ (always in quotes) was prohibited at all future dances. Although they didn’t define ‘grinding,’ I knew what they meant.

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Taking Vaping to a New Level

*For a brief review on vaping, or electronic cigarette use, check out our blog from 2014.

Vaping is on the rise, and of course some clever kids are figuring out how to get a better high (it’s seriously impressive to see what random things people will try to see if they get high…). A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics states that 26% of high school teens who have used e-cigarettes have also tried a potentially dangerous new vaping method called “dripping” — bypassing the reservoir and wick of the device by dropping e-cigarette liquid directly onto the hot coils of the device. This produces a thicker, more flavorful smoke. What could go wrong, right?

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